Phantasmagoria

Today marked the second time in two weeks that Destructoid had an article about Phantasmagoria cross its front pages. Is there some Roberta Williams rival going on that I don't know about? I guess with the release of Manhunt 2, they're trying to pull in similarities since Phantasmagoria is one of the goriest games to ever be released.

What better day than Halloween for me to write about it as well. ^_^

Here are the two articles, complete with youtube videos..
Article #1: Phantasmagoria makes murder sexy
Article #2: Why phantasmagoria would never be released today

Looking at the "gore" and murder today is far more comical than horrific, like it was supposed to be back in the day. A lot of these murders are more submissive and sexual given a man overpowering a woman and killing her in bizarre methods..

Nostalgia

My first brush with Phantasmagoria was at a relative's house. They had it on their computer along with Sim City 2000 and a couple other games. I was playing Sim City for a little while and noticed Phantasmagoria and wanted to play it. They gave me the 'ol.. "No no.. this game is for adults" speech. O_o.. I really wasn't THAT young at this point in time.. I guess they didn't want to get in trouble with my parents or something..

Later on in the week, I asked my Dad if he'd buy me the game and a day or two later, huzzah! Phantasmagoria for the Macintosh Power PC was mine! Next time I'm home, I really need to search around for that game.. It's gotta be somewhere.. even though, it wouldn't be able to run on anything these days. (at least, nothing i own)

The game was 7 discs: one for each chapter. It reminded me a lot of my Sega CD games, like Sewer Shark and Texas Ground Zero. Nothing but Full Motion Video mixed in with gameplay elements..

Playing the game

Unfortunately, I didn't get very far in the game. I completed disc 1, but nothing interesting really happened.. I got a little bit into disc 2, but got stuck and didn't know what to do.. It seemed kinda boring.. I popped in the other discs to see if I could watch the FMV or something, but I actually found something much more useful.. You could begin any chapter you wanted with finishing those before it. Keen!

I immediately went to disc 7 to try and beat the game. Disc 7 really had no exploring at all. You husband, Don, was completely possessed by the ghost in the mansion, and you're running for you life. You find a couple items while trying to escape but eventually get caught.

You wake up from unconsciousness to find Don strapping you into a killing machine. With the items you have on you, you must escape his clutches. Apparently, you're supposed to distract him, escape from the chair, and seal the evil vortex in the basement. I could never do it correctly.. whatever item combination I was supposed to use, I either didn't have or it was not obvious.

I found a hammer earlier, so I beat Don over the head with it. That certainly distracted him long enough for me to escape the chair before it sliced my head in two.. but then I run down to the basement and I'm giving one chance to do something about this vortex. All I have is a fricken hammer.. I must've missed something on the way.. Oh well, too late.. the demon came out of the vortex and tore my face off.

Today

I'd love to go back and play through the whole game, even though it is horribly dated. I never played any of the Kings Quest or Police Quest games, so this is really my only connection to Roberta Williams..

These games had really died off thanks to the advancement of modern gaming. Between gameplay and graphics, story telling on par with motion pictures never really came into the picture. These days, every single game involves some type of story presented in a very cinematic way. If your game doesn't have a story, then it's crap.

The only adventure games you can find these days are on platforms that haven't become graphically intense enough to match modern console gaming.. like the Flash Player and Nintendo DS. Phoenix Wright and Touch Detective are king on the DS for this reason, but are still over looked because "it's like reading a book." Their console counterparts are much more alluring. You want to play the story, not Choose-your-own-adventure.

After Phantasmagoria, Williams made one more King's Quest game and then effectively retired from gaming in 1998. Nearly a decade has past, but her games still live on in gamers. Especially Destructoid writers ^_^




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